Herbs for Gut Health

 If your gut is not digesting and absorbing the food you eat properly, it’s not just your stomach that suffers. 

Acid reflux (GERD), stomach ulcers, chronic constipation, and/or chronic diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, hemorrhoids, Crohn’s Disease, and inflammatory bowel conditions are just some of the disorders that can result in gut dysbiosis and/or cause it.

In addition, in case that wasn’t enough, the disruption in the environment of your gut can also lead to a ton of other disorders and diseases with symptoms that manifest elsewhere in the body and mind, and don’t necessarily exhibit gut-related symptoms.

Your gut (including the mouth, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, small intestine, colon, and rectum is home to about 100 trillion bacteria. These bacteria, along with viruses, archaea, and fungi, are called your microbiome, and they play a very influential role in your overall health.

The health of your microbiome can be affected by many things, from stress to antibiotic use, poor diet, inadequate sleep, exposure to chemicals, pesticides and other toxins, smoking etc.

While they won’t cure dysbiosis of the gut, certain herbs offer support and soothing, and have healing properties. And some herbs can also act as prebiotics for our microbiome.

Here are a few of our favourite food flavour-boosters that also support gut health and healthy digestion:
  • Ginger- nausea reduction saliva stimulation and bile production, stomach-soothing, gas & bloating reduction,  and a great treatment to prevent and ease the symptoms of motion-sickness, morning-sickness, and hangovers.
  • Calendula – Promotes healing of damaged gut wall and mucosal lining. Improves digestion and absorption, reduces inflammation in the gut wall, detoxifies the body from pathogens, helps fight amoebic infections and worms, and helps to heal pelvic and bowel infections. 
  •  Cardamom- balances excess mucus, gas, and bloating in the stomach and small intestine. 
  • Chamomile- relieves upset stomachs, cramps, indigestion, abdominal gas, and other symptoms of IBS, 
  • Basil – reduces gas and stomach cramping 
  • Bay leaves – decreases toxicity and soothes symptoms of irritable bowel 
  • Cinnamon – eases nausea and stomach upsets, 
  • Turmeric – aids with digestion, absorption, and metabolism, helps regulate intestinal flora, soothes the gut, has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
  • Chamomile -calms the eases symptoms of indigestion, reduces heartburn and acidity, promotes the healing of mucosal lining and stomach ulcers, and – as a bitter –  stimulates digestive juice production. 
  • Fennel – soothes stomach pain, aids digestion, and absorption. Promotes the breakdown and digestion of fatty foods, helps to stabilize blood sugar, relieves heartburn, indigestion, nausea, upset stomach, and diarrhea.
  • Peppermint – antispasmodic, helps relieve pain and spasm in stomachaches, colic, indigestion, constipation, and IBS, eases gassiness and bloating, enhances appetite, and aids digestion. Helps to protect the gut lining.
  • Marshmallow Root – helps to coat and soothe the mucous membranes of the digestive tract, helps to treat symptoms of heartburn, IBS, and constipation due to lack of hydration, reduces inflammation, contributes to the healing of ulcerative colitis, gastritis, and peptic ulcers. 
  • Plantain (the herb, not the fruit) – soothes irritation and inflammation of the stomach and bowels, calms diarrhea and symptoms of gastritis, colitis, and other stomach disorders, aids in the repair of damaged mucosal tissue.
  • This is one of the reasons why marshmallow root has been found to be so beneficial in helping people restore gut health.
  • Slippery Elm- Increases the mucilage content in your digestive tract, stimulates nerve endings to boost mucus secretion, helps neutralizes excessive acidity in the gut, and soothes symptoms of ulcers and IBS.
  • Licorice – helps repair your gut lining and heal your gut by replenishing mucus.
  • Aloe Vera-  Soothing and protective of the stomach lining, supports the immune system, improves water balance within the intestines, nurtures and promotes the growth of “good” gut bacteria, and soothes symptoms of IBS.

I have a great recipe for an herbal tea for gut health [here…] 

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